Category: Living with Hypothyroidism

Blog posts focusing on my journey with hypothyroidism.

That Other Oils Post

That Other Oils Post

that other oils post

A little over a year ago I wrote a post highlighting all the doTerra essential oils our family was loving. I thought it might be interesting to see how our oil uses have evolved over the last year. In addition to the oils, I’ve incorporated several vitamins and supplements from doTerra I’ll highlight as well.

Here are our favorite essential oils:

Daily

  • On Guard: immunity support, taken internally with droplets, diffused at night, applied topically
  • Cinnamon: blood sugar regulation, add a drop to water or protein shake
  • Peppermint: energy increase, add a drop to water, taken internally with droplets
  • Purify: diffused in main living area (kitchen/living room open floor) to eliminate odors and promote fresh smell, a drop in the wash or on wool dryer balls is nice too
  • Serenity: diffused at night to help Ordell and I sleep, in a roller to apply at night when traveling
  • Lavender: help the boys sleep diffused at night, eczema reducer, also great on wool dryer balls
  • Lemon or Lime: drop in drinking water, helps with digestion, liver support
  • Breathe: doTERRA Breathe is a remarkable blend of essential oils including Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Lemon, Cardamom, Ravintsara, and Ravensara.
  • Vegan Lifelong Vitality Pack: this is our multivitamin choice. While I use the flaxseed, Ordell uses IQ Mega fish oil. No more fishy burps!
  • Shampoo: I LOVE the doTerra shampoo!

Weekly or More

  • Eucalyptus: a drop in the shower helps clear the allergy stuffiness away.
  • Citrus Bliss: this vanilla and citrus combination has been perfect to get the grumpies out in the car before heading to school
  • Wild Orange: emotional support, promotes cheerfulness
  • Deep Blue: most used in our house, muscle soreness support.
  • Aroma Touch: droplets into bath helps reduce muscle soreness
  • Clary Sage: cramps and emotional imbalances from monthly cycle removed
  • Terra Shield: 20 drops of oil to 4 oz of water makes an amazing bug spray! This can also be diffused for the protection of a larger area.
  • Douglas Fir: Ordell has found this is a perfect layering oil for him with Deep Blue on days he’s sore from lifting.
  • DigestZen: aids in the digestion of food, soothe occasional upset stomachs, and reduce uncomfortable gas and bloating.*
  • Balance and Serenity together are called the grouchy blend. I’ve found the blend perfect for our boys in the pre-teen and teen years.

Thyroid Support

My thyroid support combination is the one that has changed the most. I finally have a balanced thyroid again after 13 months. When nothing else worked DDR Prime kept me functional. The other two are great support for digestion and hunger cravings. Even though I’m still on thyroid meds without a veggie cap of these oils I’m pretty wiped out by the end of the day.

  • Slim and Sassy: helps boost your metabolism and manage hunger cravings, this comes in oil and soft gel form.
  • Zendocrine: comes in oil and soft gel form
    • Supports the body’s natural ability to rid itself of unwanted substances*
    • Supports healthy liver function*
    • Purifying and detoxifying to the body’s systems*
  • DDR Prime: DDR Prime is a proprietary blend of CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils that help protect the body against oxidative stress to cellular DNA.* The essential oils in DDR Prime provide antioxidant protection and support a healthy response to cellular stressors.

Cooking

  • Ginger in salad dressings
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint in brownies
  • Lemon in lemon bars

On Guard

For cleaning, I’ve started using the on guard cleaning concentrate in a glass spray bottle. It’s the perfect multipurpose cleaner and the only thing that gets the grime off our tubs!

I can’t believe how long it lasts. We’ve only had one bottle and we use the spray several times a week on counters, the microwave and bathrooms. I’m not even halfway through the bottle.

We’ve also swapped out for the on guard foaming soap. No more Bath and Body Works in our house!

On Guard beadlets kept us healthy this winter even with 3 guys in 3 different schools and a severe flu strain.

On Guard cough drops were a great booster when we did have short-lived colds.

Ordell and I also use the on guard toothpaste. It’s replaced Sensodyne and our dentist is pleased to report zero cavities and whiter teeth.

So there you have it! We now use more doTerra daily in various ways than a year ago.

Here’s What We’ve Eliminated:

  • ibuprofen
  • acetaminophen
  • tums
  • clorox spray
  • melatonin
  • cough drops
  • vicks
  • dayquil and nyquil

Here’s What We’ve Swapped in:

***I don’t sell doTerra, but I know some awesome ladies who do! I’m happy to refer you to my favorite doTerra reps.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Pacing Myself with Three Goals

Pacing Myself with Three Goals

living with hypothroidism

When my Hypothyroidism was at its worst, I found myself cycling from exhaustion to energy and back to exhaustion. During the times I was too tired to move I would create lists of all the things that needed to get done. As soon as I had the energy to complete a task, I would shift into high gear and push myself to get everything done. Inevitably I would collapse from exhaustion at some point before the never-ending list was complete.

Now that my thyroid is a bit more stable, and our boys are more independent, I’ve realized the habit I developed out of survival is no longer necessary. Still, habits are hard to break, even when they can be harmful to one’s health.

The History of Three Goals

One of the Facebook groups I’m lucky to be a part of is hosted by Alli Worthington. Alli is the author of Breaking Busy, a book that I discovered at the perfect time for me. Since the book launch, our group has continued to interact with weekly check-ins. On Mondays, we set three goals, and on Fridays, we report our progress.

Why Three Goals?

Well, we live busy lives, and the practice of setting goals is to accomplish them. Three is a manageable number (most weeks). It’s also an amount that takes some effort. One goal can be forgotten until the last minute or accomplished quickly. Five goals would be impossible most weeks because life gets in the way of, well, life more times than not.

What Do My Three Goal Weeks Look Like

Consistency is Key

Most weeks at least one of my three goals repeats, but that is because I do a lot of the same things each week. At least once a month my goals focus on a particular project of sorts. Sometimes my goals sound more like ideas or dreams than tasks that can actually be accomplished in a week. Regardless consistency is key.

Consistency:

  • I show up every Monday and Friday
  • I type out my goals instead of just keeping them in mind
  • I aim for S.M.A.R.T. Goals
  • I check in as the week goes on to stay focused on the three things I prioritized for the week.

Sometimes I Fail

Some weeks my goals have to be set aside. Life gets in the way, I find myself exhausted, or my goals were too ambitious for the week. Over the summer it became clear that two goals would be my maximum if I expected to have any chance of success at all. The important thing is to remember Monday will come around again soon.

Why This Works

It can be easy to get to the end of a week and feel as if nothing has been accomplished. Especially when the weeks look so similar. Having three small wins each week is motivating for repeat success.

Healthwise, knowing that I only have three goals to accomplish allow me to pace myself. I don’t need to push myself to exhaustion.

That Oil Post

That Oil Post

living with hypothroidism

Essential oils have become a more poessential oilspular in the past year, at least in my circles. I’ve seen diffusers pop up at grocery stores as well as essential oils sold by multiple direct sales companies. They also are finding places on store shelves.

This post is not about the differences in companies or why one brand is better than another.

Our family uses essential oils in multiple ways each day. Our journey began when I discovered through a blood test that almost five years after having HELLPS syndrome my liver was still not completely healthy. My sister-in-law suggested instead of lemon water I try lemon oil because it would allow for a concentrated “dose” of lemon. With one drop being equivalent to 20 lemons I was feeling pretty good about this suggestion. Within weeks my new blood tests revealed my liver was again healthy. Our next experience was a flu avoiding panic brought by Thieves (or On Guard as some of you know it by). When Ordell had the flu and the rest of us stayed healthy I was sold.

My coach’s wife friend Lindsy has been a doTerra rep for about 9 months now and since she has been able to find a balance between her work as a labor and delivery nurse and her desire to help people through oil support I’ve also settled my own nerves on the subject with a clear and specific line.

I do not ever use essential oils as a substitution for doctor prescribed medicine. Those of you who have followed along with my thyroid journey, know I’m passionate about seeking the help of an expert when it comes to thyroid health.

That being said, we have found a place for essential oils in our home as part of our daily routine in multiple ways. We’ve also found space for them in weekly and rare uses.

Daily

  • On Guard: immunity support, taken internally with droplets, diffused at night, applied topically
  • Cinnamon: blood sugar regulation, add a drop to water or protein shake
  • Peppermint: energy increase, add a drop to water, taken internally with droplets
  • Purify: diffused in main living area (kitchen/living room open floor) to eliminate odors and promote fresh smell
  • Serenity: diffused at night to help Ordell and I sleep, in a roller to apply at night when traveling
  • Lavender: help the boys sleep diffused at night, eczema reducer
  • Frankincense: one drop in face lotion applied at night, softer skin, anti-wrinkle, combined with coconut oil and shea butter as well as lavender for eczema reduction
  • Lemon or Lime: drop in drinking water, helps with digestion, liver support
  • Balance: in a roller or diffused, helps emotional support
  • Melaleuca: ache prevention, evens out skin color, applied in roller or for me with my face lotion in the evening
  • Cedarwood: I’ve added this to my shampoo with lavender and mascara to help thicken and lengthen my hair

Weekly or More

  • Wild Orange: emotional support, promotes cheerfulness
  • Deep Blue: most used in our house, muscle soreness support.
  • Aroma Touch: droplets into bath helps reduce muscle soreness
  • Lemon: for cleaning
  • Peppermint: in a spray keeps the ants away, gets rid of headaches when rubbed on temples (I combine with lavender for this)
  • Clary Sage: cramps and emotional imbalances from monthly cycle removed
  • Juniper Berry: love the smell, I use this in cleaning with lemon
  • Oregano: used with cleaning in spray bottle with lemon and juniper berry
  • Terra Shield: 20 drops of oil to 4 oz of water makes an amazing bug spray! This can also be diffused for the protection of a larger area.

Thyroid Support

  • Frankincense
  • Myrrh
  • Clove
  • Lemongrass
  • Basil
  • Marjoram

Combined in a roller, I began by applying this first on the bottoms of my feet and now once a day rolled on my neck. I find that this gives me a slight boost of energy.

Cleaning

I’ve switched over almost all of our cleaning supplies to include essential oils. Glass spray bottles from Amazon have made this an easy transition.

  • Peppermint- one drop of oil to one drop of water in a spray bottle keeps ants away from floors and counters.
  • Melaleuca and Eucalyptus combine to keep our showers mold free
  • Lemon, Melaleuca, and OnGuard combine to create an all purpose cleaning spray
  • Lemon and Melaleuca are a powerful combination in cleaning an oven as well! Add these to water, baking soda and Dawn dish soap for a cleaner that wipes grime away.

Cooking

Essential oils can be used in cooking as long as they are from a reputable company. Personally, the only ones I would consider using are doTerra or YoungLiving.

I’ve served lemon with tea instead of lemon juice. I’ve also used ginger and lemon when I a stomach ache.

Lemon bars, lemon poppyseed muffins, cinnamon in baked goods all options.

Peppermint in brownies is tasty.

Basil, oregano, thyme- making an Italian dish? Consider these.

Cilantro is a popular one with a friend who adds it to salsa.

When it comes to figuring out which oils to use and which applications are best I take several steps. The first is to ask Lindsy what her thoughts and suggestions are. She has a private Facebook group which is always a helpful source as well.

Then I resource the big oils book. Oil Life is an independent company to resources essential oil distributors and educators. They have compiled an extensive book with hundreds of sites sources on essential oils. This was a gift to me from Lindsy and both Ordell and I review something in it at least once a week.

Essential oils all have specific uses and need to be used in the specific ways they have been deemed safe. By the way, this isn’t an exhaustive list of the oils we use. Just my consistent go to’s.

What are your favorites?

Three Years Ago A Thyroid Health Update

Three Years Ago A Thyroid Health Update

living with hypothroidism

Three years ago as the calendar turned to November, an inventory of my appearance revealed multiple signs my thyroid had slipped further out of range than ever before. My hair was falling out, my fingernails were so brittle they cracked deep into the nail bed, and I had gained a significant amount of weight. Further signs included the fact that massive amounts of caffeine did nothing to shake the exhaustion that drove me to nap every afternoon.

By the time I arrived at my endocrinologist’s office in January I was so desperate for help I would have taken any pill he handed me. Thankfully, I was in the right place because not only was I given new pills, they were the right pills to best support my thyroid.

This November my journey to sustained quality health has hit a milestone. My endocrinologist has declared my thyroid “in range” meaning that my medicine has balanced things and is supporting my thyroid to produce the correct hormones. After over 80 lbs lost, and 19 dosage adjustments my body has stabilized.

This does not mean I’m cured. It only means I am on the right medicine. When I feel tired, it’s because I need to sleep, not because my thyroid function is not balanced. When I gain a few pounds, it’s because I overindulged and now need to get back on track with diet and exercise.

I’m still sensitive to cold, and I still need to pace myself allowing my body and mind to rest after busy days. I do best when I don’t consume gluten or dairy. I fight to lose weight as my body holds on to it.

The past three years have flown by in many ways, but what stands out to me the most is how much I remember. Clarity of mind is included in my new quality of life. I cannot express strongly enough how vital it is that your thyroid health is treated by a specialist. Even if it’s a once a year confirmation of information and treatment from your general practitioner, it has been my experience that a vital aspect of sustained health includes considering the opinions of specialists.

Had I known the what feeling well would be like I wouldn’t have waited as long as I did to get the help I needed. The next time my thyroid needs a medicine adjustment I’ll speak up immediately and get back to living life.

Dear Stress it’s not you, it’s me…

Dear Stress it’s not you, it’s me…

Im so stressed

 

In my continuing health journey, I’ve found myself in the doctor’s office more frequently than when I had a high-risk pregnancy the past two years. A blood draw around the time we were (yet again) moving revealed that my prolactin levels were high and out of range.

My endocrinologist always begins our appointments by asking how I’m feeling. This isn’t the standard “how are you” greeting, instead it is a specific question meant to gauge how I’m handling my medicines.

As I smiled wearily, my endo nodded. My blood draw had revealed what he already knew to be true, I was not functioning at my optimum. My thyroid levels were in range, but my body was fighting itself…again.

By May there was no change, and after two months of old routines sneaking in naps and increasing the caffeine, I seized the opportunity to get a hair analysis done. I’d convinced myself that I likely needed more magnesium or some other pill. Reminding myself I’d need to cut back on sugar before football season came around, no thought of worry crossed my mind as I handed over my hair.

Two weeks later I had a phone consult to discuss my hair analysis and as each symptom was brought up and matched to a food craving I knew I was in trouble. Sugar cravings can be a sign of stress. The problem though is cyclical. You see, sugar is as addictive as cocaine according to scientific studies of the brain. So even if you begin your sugar cravings due to stress, they will continue due to addiction. Then, the next time you are stressed your cravings will increase. Without realizing it, you can steadily increase your sugar intake over year to gain the average five to eight pounds assigned to Americans.

New diets like Whole 30, Paleo and Belly Busters have become frequent “Favorite Pins” on my Pinterest notifications, and after a quick skim I can understand why. Testimonials are all the same. When we eliminate sugar and foods that convert into sugar in our bodies we feel better, lose weight and increase our energy. The great thing about Whole 30 in particular, is that it only lasts 30 days. That is long enough to create a habit and flush your system of cravings. That is until you find yourself stressed again!

I’ve just completed five weeks of a sugar, caffeine, dairy cleanse. Whole grains and Ezekial bread, fruit limited to blackberries and granny smith apples and a lot of veggies, quinoa, and grilled chicken 🙂 I lost fifteen pounds, slept great and had tons of energy. All was well until I found myself overwhelmed. Immediately I started thinking about cupcakes and chocolate and chocolate cupcakes.

The difference, this time, was that sugar was not an option. Therefore I needed to address the stressful feelings and figure out how to eliminate the feelings (or cause of the feelings).

Stress, here’s the thing. I’ve learned that words hurt, and as much as I want to be the bigger person, I internalize the critical words of those around me and they wound me. So I’m eliminating you.

Stress you rear yourself when the demands of others fill my calendar outweighing my own needs. I’m working to keep you in check with the word no.

Stress you find yourself most confident in my fear. When fear floods my mind instead of God, you settle into my body, my thoughts, and my sleep. Of course, this one is on me, when I fill my time with others needs, and allow others words to flood my thoughts devotions become scarce, and you grow.

So I’m working to eliminate you stress and for some of you reading that means you can insert your name where stress currently sits. When you demand and criticize you’ll find my cell phone, and email won’t recognize your number or address. When I say no, I mean it and guilt trips will not work. Your priorities are not necessarily my priorities, and I’m done pretending they are.

You know the best part stress? All the comments about how your way will make me a better mom, Christian and person? Well, they no longer reign supreme. The truth is that I’ll be a better wife, mom and Jesus follower without your presence. So I’m eliminating you from my daily life. I’m sorry I’ve let you settle in, that’s not your fault, it’s mine. And now it’s time to fix that.

Friday Five: Things I wish I’d Known

Friday Five: Things I wish I’d Known

living with hypothroidism

 

I’ve just completed a dietary cleanse of sorts. And I’m back to feeling myself. Hypothyroidism has consumed much more of my life than I would like to give it credit for the past 11 years, and the reality is if I’d been told a few things earlier in my process I don’t think I’d have had such an intense few years.

Five things I wish I’d known about Hypothyroidism from the beginning are:

You need to see an expert: When I was first diagnosed in pregnancy my doctor was confident she would be able to manage things for me. After she left the practice and a different doctor took over she told me she was also hypothyroid so she’d be fine managing things. I remember after I’d gained weight on Weight Watchers and Slim Fast expressing my frustration. Her response was something to the effect of “well you will always be heavy, it’s just part of the deal, but your numbers are in range!”

When we moved and insurance did not require a PCP I went to an endocrinologist for the first time. He immediately pulled me off my medicine and stated I had not been “in range” ever. I had six vials of blood drawn that day and when within one week of being on the correct thyroid medicine I had lost five lbs, didn’t need caffeine, and no longer napped. It was insane.

Gluten is not your friend: At 2.5 years into my new regiment under the care of my endo I hit a Plato. He was frustrated, I was frustrated and the reality was my thyroid really was in range. I was exercising a lot, but I had gotten pretty lazy about my diet. Although I was staying within my calorie limits Pimento cheese and Naan bread had become a staple.

I met with a natural doctor for a hair analysis consult and discovered I needed to flush my system of gluten, dairy, sugar and caffeine. I was a full blown sugar addict and the fuel I was putting in my body was not allowing my thyroid to function at its optimum. Three weeks into the new diet I was down ten lbs and my endo was thrilled. I wasn’t battling cravings, had plenty of energy and was again functioning at my optimum.

Check out more information HERE on one of my favorite sites.

Stress is not your friend: This one really can’t be stressed enough (get it? 🙂 )  Anyway, THIS ARTICLE does a great job of explaining the science behind things. Essentially the hormones that are created when we are stressed block the thyroid hormones from producing enough of what your body needs.

Even when you are in range you will feel bad if you don’t take care of yourself: All of the above points support this one, but it’s important to remember that it’s not always about taking a pill. Your body will work as well as you eat and exercise.

Hypothyroidism needs to be taken into consideration with every decision: When it comes to scheduling my life I can’t ignore that I need to exercise, have time to clean, sleep and rest. (Sleep and rest are different) If I don’t give myself space to cook healthy, keep up with my kids and the house and complete my work I will wear down quickly. First, I’ll get stressed which will effect things. Second, I’ll rush and rush through the days and exhaust myself. When I’m extremely tired I don’t actually sleep well, which is a cyclical nightmare. In the past few years, I’ve had to learn to say no a lot more often.

Linking up with Mrs. Disciple for #FridayFive

22 Month Thyroid Update

22 Month Thyroid Update

living with hypothroidism

I’ve given enough information about my Thyroid that as we wrap up 2015 I felt a summary of my journey to fuller health was important.  Since getting my A1C lower this is my first picture.

If I’m being completely honest I have to say that I don’t really recognize either of these pictures as me.  My weight gain came on so quickly with the last 15 or so pounds that there are very few pictures of my like this, although there are plenty 15-20 pounds lighter than this as I fluctuated for about 10 years.  It’s hard to remember to pick up the M instead of the XL and it still surprises me every time something fits.

My hair is still limper than I would like, although it is no longer falling out in clumps.  Biotin has been a great help with my hair and nails, although my nails are still brittle at times too.

My energy level is a little lower than months 6-15. Although part of that is likely stress related, my schedule has increased so I am more active AND I think it’s also reasonable to say that my body has adjusted slightly to the medicine range and “settled into a new normal”

Exercise has become a must, usually an hour is spent between cardio, weights, abs and stretching.  On days I have a full schedule I’ll just do cardio or even skip, although those days are rare.

Reaction changes have been interesting.  I had several months of extremely heavy periods with large clots (sorry if that’s TMI).  Surgery was even suggested by my OB/GYN.  I am thankful I delayed surgery though.  Things have evened out and it my doctors seem to agree that this was an example of compensation.  Certain body systems were used to having to work harder than they do now and needed time to slow down.

Food Sensitivities have increased.  Dairy has always been an issue for me (thank God for cashew milk and ice cream!) but it seems now that gluten is also a thing to be cautious with.  There are studies with links between thyroid and gluten.  I think the timing on this mostly has to do with my dietary changes eliminating gluten.  It has become easier for me to distinguish when I have stomach aches instead of just feeling achy all the time.

Daily Pill intake. This one has been the most interesting to me.  I always took a multivitamin, but at the insistence of my Endocrinologist have switched to Alive Vitamins.  After about 9 months of consistently taking these I am no longer vitamin deficient as I had been for at least 8 years.  At my Endocrinologist’s insistence my daily intake is: magnesium, Alive multivitamin, vitamin D, vitamin B6, Biotin, flaxseed oil, and time release melatonin when needed (maybe 3 times a month).  Yes, this is a lot of pills.  Yes I think they are helping me.  I can tell when I’ve gone a few days without something.

Naps still occur occasionally.  If I have to many busy days in a row it’s inevitable I’ll need a day to recuperate. I believe that is something that isn’t going to go away.  Learning how to balance my calendar is still a work in progress.

Hypothyroidism…blood test results

Hypothyroidism…blood test results

living with hypothroidism

Earlier this month I had a semi routine blood drawn done.  I hadn’t been feeling great and my doctor decided to check to see if my thyroid was balanced.  I think we were both to get the results.  My thyroid was balanced (and I’ve been feeling fine so it must of just been some exhaustion to fight) and for the first time since February 2014 at least my A1C was completely in the NORMAL RANGE!!

I did not have my A1C checked prior to 2014, although while pregnant in 2006 it was fine.  Sometime between 2006 and 2014 my A1C bumped into the insulin resistant/pre-diabetic range.  I have a sweet tooth and I’ve tried to avoid artificial sweeteners because there really isn’t much positive to read about them.  As I’ve tried to curb the sweets reserving treats for celebrations and certain times of the month I’ve seen the weight drop and my cravings drop, but the numbers remained the same.

I can only explain my new found blood ranges as a result of prayer, sticking with eating less sweets and a lot of exercise.  My doctor even seemed surprised.

The results of this latest blood draw has given me a new perspective.

  1. For the first time in a very very long time I have stopped waiting for quality of life to become even more compromised and instead have become even more focused on keeping my A1C in range.  Less and less sugar, increased workouts including heavier weights.
  2. I’ve begun thinking about the future more.  What will life be like in 10 or more years?  I’m no longer assuming needles, insulin and full blown diabetes is a given for me.

If you are also fighting hypothyroidism I CAN.NOT stress enough how vital quality health care is to your sustained health.

Further reading: The two BIG Problems with typical thyroid treatment Part 1 and Part 2

Balance Beams, Spoons, and permission to say no

Balance Beams, Spoons, and permission to say no

 

Have you read the Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino?  I stumbled across it the other day and although she is writing about lupus I couldn’t help but nod along feeling as if words for my recent life had just been gifted to me.

The spoon theory, very quickly, is a visual explanation of how the thousands of people in the world balance daily life with chronic illness.  For me, this has played out several ways, with the same results.

For many years I would move through my list of tasks as quickly as I could each day.  I often found that my energy would be zapped when it came to finally giving energy to my kids each afternoon.  This would start the cycle of guilt and frustration.  I’d over compensate the next time I had energy and would neglect cleaning which would then leave me feeling guilty and overwhelmed with tasks.   It took me a long time to figure out that pushing myself to exhaustion was not the best way to go about things.  The spoon analogy would have been helpful back then!

For me, hypothyroidism is something I can ignore one day and be consumed by the next.  When my medicine is at the correct dose and I have gotten enough sleep I can handle a busy day without much concern about napping.  When my dose is off, I’ve not slept or I’ve had several crazy days in a row I have learned the hard way that I need to extend myself the grace to take a day off.

Now that my boys are in school full days and can independently entertain themselves for a few hours life has gotten easier, but the reality is that the laundry never ends and everyone needs to be fed every day.  Priorities need to be shuffled around at times when my exhaustion is at it’s highest with a triage type attitude. When I don’t rest I will find myself with headaches, brain fog and getting ill.

In her book For The Love Jen Hatmaker talks about tasks sitting on a balance beam.  She encourages women to take things off the beam that really don’t need to be there.  For me, things like PTA meetings at 7pm, volunteering to help people who add stress to my life and even certain jobs have been things I’ve had to say no to or “take off my beam”.

When it comes to organizing my daily “spoons” I’ve found Corie Clark’s Purposeful Planner to be the best resource for keeping me going one week at a time. The lay out of each hour for the day being assigned a task even if it’s “rest” gives me the freedom to say no when extra commitments pop up.   This isn’t to say I’ve got giant gaps of time in my days.  Between balancing work, online classes, ministry, devotions, cooking, cleaning, exercise, shopping, being a mom and wife and the occasional fun thing like reading I’ve found that scheduling my days out ensures I actually get everything done.

My goal has always been to never have to say “I’m to tired to help, or be present”. Being too sick to go someplace, help or be present has in past years been reserved for my family. Today, it is reserved for times when I am forced to say it.  My priorities now start with family and health. This means my “spoons” for other people are severely limited.  Unfortunately, saying no is the only way to keep my priorities balanced and my health intact.

I used to think having to say no made me a bad friend.  I used to think that if others were told no that I didn’t have the right to ask for help myself.   I’ve come to realize that we all live our lives with a fist full of spoons, it’s just that for some that pile is smaller than for others.  On the days I have more spoons I can do more, and on the days I have less spoons I trust my friends and family will extend me the grace to rest up for another day.

What I realize today is that having to learn to balance my priorities actually makes me a better friend, employee, wife and mother because I reserve energy to be present with each encounter regardless of how infrequently they occur.

Switching Thyroid Meds…again

Switching Thyroid Meds…again

 

It’s been awhile since I gave an update on my Hypothyroidism journey and to be honest, that was in large part because I wasn’t sure what else to say.

This summer I was more intune with my body and how I was feeling than I had been in years.  When I got strep throat I was able to pinpoint the cause as exhaustion even before I actually got sick.  Both my stress levels and physical activity increased significantly causing a bit of adrenal fatigue and imbalance in cortisol levels.

One of the things I have had to learn over the past few years is that internalizing situations and trying to handle things myself has not worked.  I need to ask for help and be wise about what I say yes to.  The reality in life is that there are unavoidable stresses.  Having children, dealing with the sale of a house in another state, renters who aren’t great about paying rent and instead vacation is their priority….these things happen.  At the same time, not giving myself margin in my daily life giving no room for reaction or adjustment to a change in plan can certainly add unnecessary stress.

Whether it was in response to my stress this summer, the fact that I’ve lost even more weight, or just a natural adjustment, I began to find this summer that napping was again part of my daily routine.  My nails were brittle, my hair was falling out and I my emotions were a bit more extreme.  All this was a hard to attribute specifically to my thyroid at first because I was teaching swim lessons 4-6 hours each day, and chlorine can be a bear on our bodies.

A blood test confirmed that my T3 was yet again out of range and comparison wise it was actually worse than the last time a blood draw was done.  It seems that Armor Thyroid itself is not going to be be enough to keep my thyroid functioning so a new medicine has been added.

Cytomel, a specific T3 synthetic seems to be the aid I need right now.  5 days in I’m thinking clearly again and no longer crave that late afternoon nap.  There are side effects related to this drug when the dose isn’t correct, but for now things seem to be fine.

As I reflect on this additional change I have a few recurring thoughts.

Concerns: First, I have to admit, this is my second football season adjusting to medicine.  Football season itself can be our most stressful time of year and I’m disappointed to still be dealing with medicine adjustments.  Secondly, I’m a bit nervous to be on a synthetic drug.  Levothyroxine is a synthetic and is the cause of my thyroid decline.

Positives: It’s hard to trust a synthetic after having such good results with Armor.  At the same, time, I’m feeling better, and it’s always good to feel good!  I’m still losing and maintaining weight.  2 Augusts ago I was in a 16 by October and 18/20.  Last August a firm 14 for pants still and XL for shirts.  This August I’m in a firm 10 for pants and shirts really vary, mostly a M/L.  Some XL’s on name brand tight fitting cuts.

Where do I go from here?  My doctors have begun to disagree about my weight.  My OB/GYN says I’m fine where I’m at as long as my thyroid stays stable.  My endocrinologist says another 20 lbs will keep me stable longer and help me feel my best.  It’s hard to imagine what another 20lbs would look like, but until my thyroid levels stabilize again I’m not arguing on weight.

I’ve begun to crave sugar again, likely due to my exhaustion.  This is complicated because I have registered as insulin resistant in the past.  Nutrition wise I’ll be working to get my sugar intake back under control (no small feat during football season) and I’ll also be monitoring my gluten intake as well.  One thing that has come up in the past month specifically is consistent symptoms that may be related to a building gluten intolerance.  Of course, bread can also add to insulin resistance symptoms, so it’s possible bread and sugar are simply giving the same reaction.

Hypothyroidism is a life long battle for many, it seems I fall into that category.

 

 

 

 

 

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